53 Child Abuse News Articles
from 1st Quarter of 2018
Click on the links below to get the full story from its source
3-22-18 The community of 2,000 people with 151 cases of sex crime
Norwegian police have documented 151 cases of sexual abuse, including child rape, in one small community of 2,000 people, north of the Arctic circle. The offences occurred over decades - between the 1950s and 2017 - but were only recently uncovered. How could such serious sex crimes go unchecked for so long? Nina Iversen says she has always been someone who talks - and has often talked about what happened to her when she was growing up in Tysfjord. "I always spoke about it. From when I was 14 years old, I thought: 'I'll write a book about this abuse - I'm going to stop it.' But of course, I wasn't able to." When she was a teenager, young people confided in each other about the sexual abuse they had experienced, but adults would not listen. "We were called whores and liars. There were many of us who were treated like that. And we were spat on if we tried to talk about it," she remembers. Iversen's abusers were her relatives, so as a child she lived family life in a perpetual state of terror. Now 49, she no longer lives in Tysfjord, but says she still doesn't feel safe. A remote community dominated by a 900m-deep fjord, Tysfjord is split in two - one part, Drag, lies on the western shore, and the other, Kjopsvik, on the eastern. A car ferry ploughs its way back and forth between the two. About half of those living here are from the indigenous Sami community - some of Scandinavia's earliest inhabitants, who live in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia. But Sami people accounted for about two-thirds of the 83 victims and 92 perpetrators identified in the police report on sexual abuse, and discrimination and racism had an impact on how the story played out. By 2005, Nina Iversen was a mother. Worried about her children, and the threat to them of sexual abuse, she was in touch with child welfare services. Again she spoke about her own experiences. She told her doctor. "I told everyone," she says. "But to be listened to, you had to have the right background. Someone like me, who comes from a poor family, just got ignored." Iversen was not the only one trying to get the authorities' attention. In 2007, desperate Sami parents of a child who had been sexually abused wrote a letter to the prime minister asking for help. The letter gained traction in the media - people expected action. At that time, Anna Kuoljok, a deacon in the Norwegian Church, and her husband Ingar, a lawyer - both of them Sami - were in touch with 20 families whose children had been sexually exploited. The couple spoke up at public meetings attended by local politicians, health workers, the police and other authorities. "They thought it couldn't be true there were so many cases - that's what they said to us," remembers Anna. "They thought we were lying."
3-21-18 American teenagers' quiet despair
Why are teens killing themselves? Most statistics are meaningless. But once in a while one comes across a figure that cannot be summarily dismissed. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2006 and 2016 there was a 70 percent increase in the number of white children aged 10 to 17 who committed suicide in this country. For black teenagers, the increase was even higher, at 77 percent. Only 48 American teenagers in 100,000 die each year; at present some 4,600 Americans between the ages of 10 and 24 take their own lives every year, which makes it the third leading cause of death. The death of even a single child is something that's almost impossible to discuss without finding language inadequate. How can one even begin to come to terms with the fact that in the wealthiest, most powerful country in the world, a growing number of young people, of all races and classes, are taking their own lives? Why is this happening? A recent report in USA Today offers us a glimpse at the lives of three such young people, all boys. One evening while his mother was attending a Bible study, J.C. Ruf, a 16-year-old high-school baseball pitcher, took his grandmother out to dinner. When Karen Ruf returned home later that night, she found the house unusually quiet and called her son's name. Receiving no answer she went to the laundry room, where her son often watched movies or played video games with his friends, sometimes setting up an air mattress on the floor. When she opened the door she found his body. There was also a message on his unlocked cellphone: "Everything has a time. I decided not to wait for mine. They say we regret the things we do not do. I regret it a lot."
3-20-18 The Rohingya children trafficked for sex
Girls in their early teens are being trafficked into prostitution in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, a BBC News investigation has found. Foreigners seeking sex can easily gain access to children who have fled conflict in Myanmar and now face a new threat. Anwara is 14. Fleeing Myanmar after her family were killed she searched for help on the road to Bangladesh. "Women came with a van. They asked me, if I'd go with them." After accepting their help, she was bundled into a car, with the promise of safe passage to a new life. Instead she was taken to the nearest city, Cox's Bazar. "Not long after that they brought two boys to me. They showed me a knife and punched me in my tummy and beat me because I wasn't co-operating. Then the boys raped me. I wasn't willing to have sex but they kept going." Tales of trafficking in the nearby refugee camps are rife. Women and children are the main victims, lured out of the camps and into labour and sex work. A BBC team alongside the Foundation Sentinel, a non-profit group established to train and assist law enforcement agencies combating child exploitation, headed to Bangladesh to investigate the networks behind the trade we had heard so much about. Children and parents told us they were offered jobs abroad and in the capital Dhaka as maids, as hotel staff and kitchen workers. The chaos of the camps offers big opportunities to bring children into the sex industry. Offering a chance of a better life to desperate families is a cruel tactic deployed by traffickers. Masuda, 14, who is now being helped by a local charity, described how she was trafficked. "I knew what was going to happen to me. The woman who offered me a job, everyone knows she makes people have sex. She is a Rohingya here for a long time, we know her. But I didn't have a choice. There is nothing for me here. "My family have disappeared. I have no money. I was raped in Myanmar. I used to play in the forest with my brother and sister. Now I don't remember how to play." Some parents wept for fear of never hearing from their children again. Others smiled at the prospect of a life bettered, despite not having heard from their loved ones. As one mother said, "anywhere is better" than a life outside the camps.
3-20-18 Teaching boys that 'real men' would stop rape
Isaac, a 15-year-old boy, watched as a group of men grabbed a young girl. It was a bustling new year's eve in Kibera, Kenya's largest slum, and he knew she was in trouble. He also knew he didn't have the strength to fight off those older, larger men. Having been taught to intervene if he sees predatory behaviour, Isaac called over another man to help confront the group. "Everyone started arguing," explains Isaac. "The group said the girl was their 'catch' and they had to rape her." After 20 minutes, they decided to let her go. "The stories you hear are shocking," says Anthony Njangiru, a field co-ordinator for the Kenyan non-profit Ujamaa, which trains boys like Isaac to help stop violence against women and girls in the slums of the capital, Nairobi. "Not everyone is so lucky," he says. Mr Njangiru teaches a programme called Your Moment of Truth to boys, aged 14 to 18, in secondary school. He is one of many instructors, and the classes cover everything from sex education, to challenging rape myths, consent, and how to intervene if the boys witness an assault taking place. For younger boys, aged 10 to 13, a programme called Sources of Strength focuses primarily on body changes. The course takes place over weekly two-hour lessons, for six weeks, and each class is divided into two, with girls taught their own set of skills. Since the organisation first began, Ujamaa has taught 250,000 children in over 300 schools across Nairobi. When it comes to the boys, it's ultimately about changing their perceptions and attitudes towards girls. "If we, as boys and men, are part of the problem, then we can be part of the solution," says Mr Njangiru. "We can be the first people to change."
3-19-18 How #MeToo is leaving child victims behind
For years as a child, I was abused by an adult. I kept this secret for decades. I'm sure I knew other victims. But I heard none of their stories. Like me, they chose silence. We survivors of child sexual abuse don't just know how to keep a secret — we were groomed to believe secrecy was essential to our survival. #MeToo has changed that, as more and more survivors of sexual violence and sexual harassment are coming forward to share their stories. But while some of these stories have included child victims, for the most part, the focus of #MeToo has been on adult victims of workplace sexual misconduct. The subsidiary #MeTooK12 movement emerged recently as a way to address sexual misconduct that occurs in schools, but even still, the scores of young girls and boys who experience child sexual abuse are largely cut out of the conversation. This has to change. Roughly 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys experience sexual abuse. It is a sad fact that children are the most vulnerable among us and also the least equipped to advocate for themselves. Children are victimized at higher rates than adults, per Darkness to Light, a nonprofit organization focused on educating adults to prevent child sexual abuse. Their youth renders them "uniquely vulnerable," Heidi Fuchs, a criminal justice clinician at TESSA, a domestic violence support center in Colorado, told The Week, as they may not be able to properly understand and process the abuse they've endured. Children are "most in need of effective advocacy," Fuchs said, because "they lack the information, resources, experience, and ability to advocate for themselves." Moreover, unlike adults, children are often completely powerless in their environments. Abusers are frequently the people who also meet a kid's most basic needs, like food and shelter. Even when abuse takes place outside of the home, it is often perpetrated by a trusted individual, and often in the context of activities that are presented as mandatory — like USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar's rampant abuse of young female athletes during medical treatments. When children are trapped in these abusive situations, the consequences can be devastating. In fact, child sexual abuse can cause literal changes to the structure of the brain, researchers discovered in a 2015 study.
3-16-18 Conservative groups have blocked a bill banning child marriage
Conservative groups have blocked a bill banning child marriage in Kentucky. Under current state law, girls of any age can marry if they are marrying a man who impregnated them. A bill setting a minimum marriage age of 17 was withdrawn this week, when Republicans said the Family Foundation of Kentucky objected to “replacing parents with government, and the precedent that sets.”
3-15-18 Quiet time
Quiet time, after three day care workers from Illinois were charged with giving 2-year-olds melatonin-laced gummies to ensure they’d take a nap. Giving a sleep-inducing hormone to kids without parental consent, police said, was “just a horrible case of bad judgment.”
3-9-18 Report finds US hospital failed to protect infants from abuse
A federal investigation has found a Wisconsin hospital did not do enough to protect newborn infants from abuse, a report obtained by US media says. Five infants were found with unexplained injuries, ranging from bruising to skull and arm fractures. Documents show the hospital did not take action over the suspected abuse until last month when two babies were found with bruises. An internal review found two similar cases in 2017 and another in January. Investigators for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) told the hospital in a letter last month that the issue was "so serious that it constitutes an immediate threat to patient health safety", according to the Wisconsin State Journal newspaper, citing the report. The federal agency threatened to cancel its contract with the hospital. UnityPoint Health-Meriter Hospital, located in the state's capital of Madison, said it is co-operating with authorities and implementing a new safety plan. A nurse who was found to have been caring for several of the infants involved has been suspended from the hospital, according to the newspaper. (Webmaster's comment: Suspended? Why hasn't the nurse been arrested and charged with assault!)
3-8-18 In the US you can rape a child and then marry her
Conservative groups have blocked a bill banning child marriage in Kentucky. Under current state law, girls of any age can marry if they are marrying a man who impregnated them. A bill setting a minimum marriage age of 17 was withdrawn this week, when Republicans said the Family Foundation of Kentucky objected to “replacing parents with government, and the precedent that sets.”
3-8-18 Child sex law
The French government said this week it will set the age of sexual consent at 15, following a public outcry last year over two cases involving sex with minors. In November, a court acquitted a 30-year-old man of raping an 11-year-old girl after concluding the child had not experienced “constraint, threat, violence, or surprise” during the sex act. In a similar case, a 28-year-old man was charged with having sex with a minor, not rape, because it was concluded that his 11-year-old victim had not been forced into the act. The new law, said Equality Minister Marlène Schiappa, will mean that “there can be no debate, ever, on the sexual consent of a child.” France previously had no statutory rape law, although adults could be prosecuted for sexually abusing children.
3-8-18 Tackling teen depression
Suicide has become the third leading cause of death for young people in the U.S., prompting experts to issue updated guidelines on depression, reports NPR.org. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that doctors screen all young adults ages 12 to 21 every year for the mental health disorder. Twenty percent of Americans suffer from depression at some point in their teens, but only about half are diagnosed, and just one-third receive treatment. Signs of trouble—such as irritability, moodiness, listlessness, and complaints of stress—are often dismissed as typical adolescent behavior. “A lot of parents go to their pediatrician for the scraped knees and sore throats but don’t think of them when it comes to seeking help for emotional and behavioral issues,” says researcher Rachel Zuckerbrot. “The earlier we identify teenagers who show signs of depression, the better the outcome.”
3-6-18 France to set legal age of sexual consent as 15
France plans to fix the legal age of sexual consent as 15, meaning sex with someone younger than that would be considered rape. Equality Minister Marlène Schiappa welcomed the move, which follows advice from doctors and legal experts. Currently, prosecutors must prove sex with someone under 15 was forced in order to bring rape charges. The change comes amid uproar over two recent cases of men accused of having sex with 11-year-old girls. Under the existing legislation, if there is no violence or coercion proved, offenders may only be charged with sexual abuse of a minor and not rape. This has a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 (£66,000; $87,000). Sentences are the same for sexual assaults of minors and non-minors, but rape convictions carry much harsher punishments. The government is to approve the new age limit as part of a package of other laws against sexual violence and harassment in the coming weeks. It had been discussing whether to set the age as 13 or 15, which is what groups fighting violence against children had campaigned for. Ms Schiappa told AFP news agency that she was "very glad" that the higher age was chosen. The limit is also supported by President Emmanuel Macron. Minister of Solidarity and Health Agnès Buzyn said setting a legal age of sexual consent would allow a "collective awareness" and that everyone would see what was "legal and illegal", Le Figaro newspaper reports (in French).
3-5-18 Cardinal Pell returns to court to fight sexual offence charges
Cardinal George Pell has returned to an Australian court for a hearing that will determine whether he stands trial on sexual assault charges. The Catholic cleric, 76, has strongly denied what police have described as historical accusations by "multiple complainants" in the state of Victoria. He will plead not guilty to all charges, his lawyer said last year. The court hearing in Melbourne is expected to run for a month. Much of it will be closed to the public and media. Cardinal Pell was given a police escort into the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Monday as dozens of media representatives and bystanders watched on. Inside, his lawyer, Robert Richter QC, accused police of investigating the cardinal with a "presumption of guilt".
3-4-18 A routine abduction - of a 13-year-old girl
It's said that half a million children go missing in India every year. Sonia Faleiro went to meet the parents of one, a 13-year-old girl who was walking along a road with her mother when she was pulled into a car and driven away. On the morning that I met Ram Bharan, a brick maker in a remote village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, his family was in the midst of wedding preparations. The bride was Bharan's 15-year-old daughter. The sweet-faced teenager was seated on the floor of their mud hut, slathered with turmeric, in a pre-wedding ritual meant to purify the skin. But unlike any wedding ceremony I'd been to, this one was devoid of music, dance, even joy. The atmosphere was laden with sadness. Ram Bharan hadn't planned to marry his daughter off so young. He was an illiterate, daily wage labourer, and like any father he wanted the best for his children. The legal minimum age to marry in India is 18 for girls, and Ram Bharan would have liked his daughter to finish her education. But in April last year, his youngest child was abducted. She was, he told me, 13 years, nine months, and three days old. Every morning Savitri accompanied her mother to the brick kiln, with a flask of tea for her father. The kiln was 20 minutes down a quiet mud road. But that morning, some men pulled her into a moving jeep. Her horrified mother could only scream as they drove off in a cloud of dust. The teenager is still missing, and she is just one among very many. Activists say that as many as 500,000 children go missing in India every year. (Webmaster's comment: And 800,000 go missing in the United States every year with only 1/4 as many people in the country as India.)
3-2-18 California children lived in desert box 'for four years'
A California couple has been arrested for keeping their children in a plywood box in a desert community. The three children of Mona Kirk, 51, and Daniel Panico, 73, were found living among their own faeces and mounds of rubbish. The victims, ages 11, 13 and 14, were malnourished and had been living in the box for four years, according to the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department. The couple were arrested for wilful cruelty to a child and await bail. While checking the Joshua Tree area, police stumbled upon "a travel trailer, which appeared to be abandoned, and a large rectangular box made of plywood on the property", according to a press release. The box was about 20ft long (6m), 4ft high and 10ft wide, according to police. "The property had no electricity or running water. Several large holes and mounds of trash and human faeces were located throughout the property," officials said. A San Bernardino Sheriff spokeswoman said Ms Kirk was living in the box with the children, while Mr Panico was living in the trailer, CNN reports. Captain Trevis Newport said on Twitter the children were not being held captive but were living in unsafe conditions without running water, electricity or heat.
3-1-18 More girls taken
Suspected Boko Haram militants roared up to a Nigerian boarding school in jeeps last week and kidnapped more than 100 girls, some as young as 11. The Islamist terrorist group gained international notoriety three years ago with the kidnapping of 276 Christian girls from a school in Chibok, about 170 miles away from Dapchi. More than half of the Chibok girls have since been rescued, many of them pregnant or with infants, and they told of being forcibly married to militants. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called the Dapchi kidnapping a “national disaster” and ordered the army to search. “Boko Haram needs women in its ranks and will look to put them in a secure location,” said Yan St.-Pierre, a counterterrorism adviser at the Berlin-based security firm Mosecon.
3-1-18 Erdogan’s young ‘martyr’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan drew widespread condemnation this week after he told a 6-year-old girl that her death would be a glorious martyrdom. During his speech at a party congress, Erdogan spotted the girl dressed in camouflage and a maroon beret—like those worn by the Turkish special forces currently fighting Kurds in Syria—and brought her up to the stage. “If she becomes a martyr, God willing, they will drape the flag on her,” he said, kissing her on the cheeks. The girl began to sob. “But Maroon Berets don’t cry,” Erdogan said. Critics on social media lambasted the Turkish leader, accusing him of glorifying child soldiers. But Turkey’s mainstream press, which is under Erdogan’s control, portrayed the girl as a proud patriot and claimed that the president had consoled the youngster.
2-22-18 Arizona couple charged with locking up adopted children
A couple in Arizona have been charged with locking up their adopted children for up to 12 hours at a time with only a bucket for a toilet. Benito and Carol Gutierrez are accused of keeping the four children, aged between six and 12, locked in rooms with no light or food. Police were alerted when one boy left the house in Tucson. He entered a shop to call a relative, but an employee called police because of concerns about the boy's appearance. The Pima County Sheriff's Department said they discovered that the children "were kept in separate bedrooms, which were locked from the outside, with no access to food, water, lights, or bathroom facilities for up to twelve hours at a time on a regular basis". Police said the children - all biological siblings adopted by the couple - did not realise the conditions in which they lived were unusual. They were excellent students and had no reported problems in school. At a press conference, Detective Pat Willson praised the employee of the Family Dollar shop who contacted police. "We commend this citizen," he said. "He wasn't sure the situation was a crime, but he reported his concerns." The couple had passed all required background checks to be allowed to adopt children, Mr Willson said, adding that there had been no reported problems in the past. They have now been charged with child abuse.
2-14-18 The child abuse survivor fighting to save others
In India, child sexual assault must be reported within three years or a case cannot be brought against an abuser. But for adult survivors who struggle to come to terms with their ordeal this means their abuser, frequently someone close to the family, will never be brought to justice. The BBC's Geeta Pandey met one survivor campaigning for a change in the law. A 53-year-old Canadian woman of Indian origin recently met with India's Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi. Her mission was to lobby for a change in the law so that adult survivors can report childhood sexual abuse. Purnima Govindarajulu, who grew up in the southern Indian city of Chennai (formerly Madras) before moving to Canada in 1986, says she was abused by her cousin's husband regularly between the ages of six and 13. After meeting Ms Govindarajuluin in Delhi, Mrs Gandhi said her ministry was "considering measures that will help child abuse survivors report their abusers, many years after the crimes had been committed". The law at present says a case must be brought within three years of abuse. "I would wake up at night to find him sitting next to me in the dark. He would put his hands and mouth on my private parts," Ms Govindarajulu, who works as a conservation biologist for the Canadian province of British Columbia, said. Although the "more intrusive penetrative acts took place at night or while travelling during the holidays", the abuse continued during the day too. "Whenever he would find me alone, he would stick his fingers into my panties. There would be fondling, groping." Growing up in conservative Chennai, she says she had no clue that what was happening to her was wrong and was not her fault. "I never thought of protesting because I believed I was evil, I was dirty, I was bad. I had no idea about sex. I had three older brothers and when at the age of 13, I began menstruating I thought I had cancer. "I thought I was about to die but that came as a relief to me because I was so miserable in my life." But then an aunt showed up and saw her "blood-soaked panties and assured me that I was not going to die". "She said you are a woman now. She told me it was normal. She said this means you can have a baby. She also told me don't let anyone touch you." (Webmaster's comment: All these sexual abuse statue of limitation laws are there for one purpose. TO PROTECT THE MALE SO HE CAN SEXUALLY ABUSE AND RAPE CHILDREN AND GET AWAY WITH IT!)
2-14-18 'Guns and survivalists, but no school until I was 17'
There can't be many people with a doctorate from the University of Cambridge who never got a single school-age qualification. But Tara Westover's story is more like something from another era, than a tale of modern America. Tara grew up in rural Idaho, in a family of survivalists who saw schools as part of a government brainwashing exercise to be avoided at all costs. Her obsessively independent father stockpiled guns and supplies, ready for the end of civilisation and to guard against any attempt by the state to intervene in their lives. Even when they were hurt in serious car accidents, the family avoided hospitals, seeing doctors as agents of a malign state. This was also a deeply controlling way of life, with the family's fundamentalist interpretation of Mormonism setting rules on what Tara could wear, her hobbies and her contacts with the outside world. It was a tough, violent, self-reliant life, like a paranoid Little House on the Prairie. Tara remembers her father, fearful of raids by federal agents, buying weapons powerful enough to bring down a helicopter. It meant that she had a childhood of riding horses in the mountain and working in a scrapyard, but not any school. She says that claims for home schooling were really a cover for "no schooling". At the time it didn't seem strange that they didn't go to school like other local children, she says. "I thought they were wrong and we were right. I thought they were spiritually and morally inferior because they went, I really did," Tara says, speaking in Cambridge where she now lives. "I thought they were being brainwashed and I wasn't." (Webmaster's comment: The survivalists creed is keep them ignorant, barefoot and pregnant as soon as possible and starting early is OK too.)
2-14-18 Ex-gymnast and Nassar survivor poses naked with the word 'survivor'
Ex-USA gymnast Alexandra Raisman has posed naked with the words "women do not have to be modest to be respected" written on her. Other words she chose to put on her body were "fierce", "trust yourself" and "survivor". Aly was one of more than 100 victims who were sexually abused by USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. She said it was important to talk about what she went through as hard times were "equally important in shaping us". Nassar was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison last month following evidence from nearly 160 of his victims. Aly, who testified at his sentencing, posted the photo on Twitter and Instagram along with a message to fans. "Women do not have to be modest to be respected-- Live for you! Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves however makes them happy. Women can be intelligent, fierce, sexy, powerful, strong, advocate for change while wearing what makes them feel best. The time where women are taught to be ashamed of their bodies is OVER. The female body is beautiful and we should all be proud of who we are, inside and out." (Webmaster's comment: You Go Woman!)
2-7-18 Alabama man arrested after child porn video goes viral
A US man has been charged with sexually abusing three girls after an online video of him allegedly forcing a sex act on a child went viral, police say. The video had been widely shared online by outraged social media users as far away as France in what police say was a misguided attempt to locate the man. Police in several states have warned the public that having possession or sharing the video is a serious crime. Another man has been arrested for sharing the video online. Authorities said while most people who shared the video probably had "good intentions", they still committed a crime. "To have it blasted over social media - it shocks the conscience," said Madison County Chief Trial Attorney Tim Gann. "You're disseminating child porn and that's a felony... It's an awful thought that people can't understand that that's wrong," he said, adding that victims also may be re-traumatised as more people see the crime. Germaine Moore, 44, turned himself in to a police station outside Montgomery, Alabama early on Tuesday. He faces charges in Alabama and Michigan related to sexually abusing three female relatives, who authorities said are now between the ages of 9 and 12. Police said he will probably be extradited to Michigan, where he is originally from, to face charges. Authorities also arrested his fiance, Tonya Hardy, for not co-operating with investigators and refusing to reveal Mr Moore's location as they searched his house, according to local media reports. In an effort to halt the video from spreading online, police in several states have informed the public that an arrest has been made.
2-5-18 Incest charge as US woman has baby 'by her biological father'
A US man and his biological daughter are accused of an incestuous relationship after authorities say they had a baby together. Steven Pladl, 42, and Katie Rose Pladl, 20, were arrested at home in North Carolina, after his ex-wife told police he had impregnated their daughter. According to the arrest warrant, the couple planned to marry despite being legally banned from doing so. Ms Pladl was legally adopted out of state after her birth in 1998. The father and daughter, who live in town of Knightdale, just outside the state capital of Raleigh, are both charged with incest and adultery. They are each being held in custody on bail of $1m (£715,000). Katie Rose Pladl connected with her biological parents through social media when she turned 18. She moved in with them and their two other children in August 2016 at their former home near Richmond, Virginia. Ms Pladl's birth mother legally separated from her husband in November that year after he began sleeping in his adult daughter's room, she told police. The ex-wife, who has not been named, said she first learned of her daughter's pregnancy after reading about it in the diary of one of her and Mr Pladl's other children, according to arrest warrants. She also said that Mr Pladl had admitted to the affair when she confronted him on the phone after their separation. He had asked the two younger children to refer to Ms Pladl as their step-mother even though she was their sibling, according to court papers.
2-5-18 Australian police charge seven with abusing boys
Seven people have been charged in Australia over the alleged sexual and physical abuse of three young boys. The four women, two men and a 17-year-old girl face a total of 127 charges over the alleged abuse in a town near Sydney between 2014 and 2016. The suspects were reportedly involved in a circus school. All planned to contest the charges, local media said. Authorities said the group knew their alleged victims, who were all aged under eight at the time. All seven suspects have been charged with sexual assault offences. Other allegations include kidnapping, physical assault and the production of child abuse material. "Police will allege in court the group participated in ongoing sexual and physical abuse of three boys, who were known to them, between 2014 and 2016," New South Wales Police said in a statement. According to Australian media, the circus school in the Blue Mountains, 100km (62 miles) west of Sydney, ran community classes for children with and without disabilities. Authorities said they arrested the seven people following "extensive investigations" by a special taskforce that was established last July. The six adults facing charges are aged between 18 and 58. Police have not given further details about their investigation.
2-5-18 Larry Nassar jailed for another 40 to 125 years
Disgraced ex-sports doctor Larry Nassar hahs been sentenced to another 40 to 125 years for sexual assault. Eaton County Judge Janice Cunningham issued the sentence on Monday. Last week he received 40 to 175 years in jail in a different Michigan county. "It's impossible to convey the depth and breadth of how sorry I am to each and every one involved," he told the court before his final sentencing. The number of women who accuse Nassar of abuse has grown to more than 250. Over 100 of his victims, including Olympians Aly Raisman and Jordyn Wieber, have confronted him in court to share details of how he molested them. Last week Judge Cunningham decided not to formally charge a father of two sexual assault survivors who leapt at Nassar after asking the judge for "five minutes in a locked room with that demon".
2-2-18 Nassar: How a predator got away with abuse for decades
“He gave them gifts, invited them to his house, and brought them ice packs and wiped away the blood when they were injured,” said Christine Hauser and Maya Salam in The New York Times. Over the years, young female gymnasts were told to view Dr. Lawrence G. Nassar as a “sports medicine guru” and “magician” who could relieve their pain and improve their performance. But last week, in a Michigan courtroom, 156 “sister survivors” lined up to tell graphic stories of the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of the former U.S. Olympic and Michigan State University osteopath. In the guise of medical treatment, Nassar molested girls and teens in various ways, but his specialty was “pelvic manipulation”—a process in which he aggressively penetrated girls as young as 6 vaginally and anally with his ungloved fingers, sometimes for as long as 15 minutes. In her testimony, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman stared Nassar down, saying, “Imagine how it feels to be an innocent teenager in a foreign country, hearing a knock on the door—and it was you.” Another Nassar victim, Kyle Stephens, said her father refused to believe her for years—and then committed suicide over his failure to protect her. “Little girls don’t stay little forever,” Stephens told Nassar. “They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world.” These brave young women finally received some justice when Nassar, 54, was sentenced to up to 175 years in prison.
2-2-18 Bill and Ted star Alex Winter on his abuse: Hollywood is different now
Bill and Ted star Alex Winter has told BBC 5 live that he wasn’t able to tell his “potentially dangerous secret”: that he was sexually abused as a child actor. The actor - who played Bill alongside Keanu Reeves' Ted - also said that Hollywood has a “very different culture” now and there is a “lot more freedom” to talk about what’s happening.
2-2-18 India principal 'puts students through trial by fire'
Police in India have lodged a complaint against a school principal after she allegedly forced 13 pupils to hold their hands over a candle flame. The head teacher, Sushanti Hembrom, was trying to find out if one of the nine-year-olds had stolen money from another classmate. The incident occurred on Wednesday in a private school in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. Ms Hembrom was suspended the next day after parents complained. Police told BBC Hindi's Ravi Prakash that the teacher said she had expected the guilty student to step forward out of fear. But all the students did as they were told and put their hands over the flame. While some of them quickly snatched their hands away, seven sustained burns. At least one of them, whose hand Ms Hembrom is alleged to have forcibly held over the flame, was injured badly and had to be admitted to hospital. He was discharged on Thursday. Police said Ms Hembrom, who has since admitted to what happened, said she had made a "big mistake" and has apologised to the students as well as their parents. Corporal punishment is banned in Indian schools but continues to be widespread. It is also not unusual for stripping to be used as a form of punishment in schools. In March 2017, parents were horrified to learn that 70 girls aged about 10 were stripped naked in a residential school in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh to "check for menstrual blood".
2-1-18 Atlanta boy, three, 'beaten to death over a cupcake'
Two sisters in the US city of Atlanta have been charged over the killing of a three-year-boy whose only crime, police say, was taking a cupcake. Police say Kejuan Mason sneaked the cupcake from the kitchen while at home with Glenndria and Lashirley Morris. According to the indictment, Lashirley beat the child with a baseball bat while her sister Glenndria, his legal guardian, spanked him with her hand. He died from blunt force trauma to his head and his torso, say medics. The two sisters gave conflicting accounts of what happened on 31 October, initially claiming he had choked on the cupcake, say media reports based on police sources. They are charged with two counts of felony murder, one count of aggravated assault and two counts of cruelty in the first-degree.
1-30-18 Facebook 'no place' for young children
More than 100 child health experts are urging Facebook to withdraw an app aimed at under-13s. In an open letter to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, they call Messenger Kids an "irresponsible" attempt to encourage young children to use Facebook. Young children are not ready to have social media accounts, they say. Facebook says the app was designed with online safety experts in response to parental calls for more control over how their children used social media. It is a simplified, locked-down version of Facebook's Messenger app, requiring parental approval before use, and data generated from it is not used for advertising. The open letter says: "Messenger Kids will likely be the first social media platform widely used by elementary school children [four- to -11-year-olds]. "But a growing body of research demonstrates that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to children and teens, making it very likely this new app will undermine children's healthy development. "Younger children are simply not ready to have social media accounts. "They are not old enough to navigate the complexities of online relationships, which often lead to misunderstandings and conflicts even among more mature users." (Webmaster's comment: Facebook is an evil place even for adults. Facebook supports false information because that causes a lot of controversy which creates a lot of traffic which means a lot of people see the ads there and Facebook gets Billions for hosting those ads.)
1-26-18 USA Gymnastics board to quit over Larry Nassar abuse
The entire USA Gymnastics (USAG) board has said it will comply with a US Olympic Committee's (USOC) ultimatum to resign over an abuse scandal. The USOC earlier said the 18-member board must step down by 31 January or lose status as a sports governing body. The USOC outlined steps the board must take after ex-USAG doctor Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40 to 175 years for sexually abusing young athletes. Five directors of the USAG board have already resigned amid the fallout. Two Michigan State University (MSU) officials have also quit after the school became embroiled in the scandal. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis stepped down on Friday following reports that the school knew of the abuse claims but failed to take action. He said he was "brought to tears" as he listened to Nassar's victims during his sentencing on Tuesday. "My heart breaks thinking about the incomprehensible pain all of them and their families have experienced," he said in a statement. Nassar, 54, worked at MSU between 1997 and 2016 and served as national medical co-ordinator for USAG from 1996 to 2014. Nearly 160 women have accused him of sexual abuse. USAG has admitted dragging its feet on alerting the authorities when it learned of abuse allegations against Nassar in 2015. Multiple molestation complaints from young athletes against the physician between 1997 and 2014 were ignored by MSU. (Webmaster's comment: Nassar abused many children in full view of other children and adults. No one said or did anything!)
1-26-18 Larry Nassar case: The 156 women who confronted a predator
Former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar has been handed a jail sentence of 175 years in Michigan for abusing female athletes he was supposed to be treating. Here, the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan, who was in court, and Roland Hughes detail the extraordinary testimony given in court by the survivors of his abuse. One hundred and fifty-six young women - mothers, sisters, daughters, Olympians. All say they were abused by the same man: former Team USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Over seven days, they took to the stand one by one to do what few survivors of sexual abuse ever get the chance to do - directly confront their attacker. Nassar had already pleaded guilty to 10 counts of sexual assault for abusing young girls under the guise of medical treatment. Women who filed criminal complaints against Nassar spoke out at his sentencing hearing in Lansing. But they were followed by close to 150 others, many of whom chose to do so without the anonymity to which they were entitled. It began with him exposing himself. Later, he would masturbate before her. Then, he physically abused her - all while both their families were in the same house. When Kyle, aged 12, told her parents that Nassar would rub his erect penis on her bare feet, he denied it. Back then, her parents did not believe her, and urged her to apologise to him. "He forced me to grow up really fast," Kyle told the BBC after the hearing. "It was such a benign action until you grow up and realise it was a vile thing." (Webmaster's comment: The list is endless!)
1-24-18 Larry Nassar victim calls him 'the scariest monster of all'
A former US gymnastics champion has called the disgraced national team doctor who molested her and well over 100 others the "scariest monster". Mattie Larson said in court Larry Nassar had first molested her at 14 and did so repeatedly even when her friends and coaches were in the room. Two other women forgave the 54-year-old in court on Tuesday for abusing them. He is expected to learn his fate on Wednesday, the seventh day of the sentencing hearing. Nassar has pleaded guilty to 10 counts of criminal sexual conduct and faces life in prison. He already faces 60 years in jail for possession of child pornography. Some 158 women accuse the former USA Gymnastics doctor. Ms Larson told the court on Tuesday how she was repeatedly abused at the isolated Karolyi Ranch, a USA Gymnastics training site in Texas. The 25-year-old elite former gymnast said Nassar would abuse her in the lounge where her teammates were watching television, and often around her coaches and trainers. (Webmaster's comment: Americans accept sexual abuse of young women as an everyday thing. They are perfectly willing to sit and watch it without saying a thing. One of the sickest cultures on earth.)
1-24-18 Larry Nassar abuse: What it was like to face 'monster' doctor in court
"You stand there and... he's five feet away from you." Women who testified against Larry Nassar, the former USA gymnastics sports doctor, tell the BBC's Rajini Vaidyanathan what it was like to confront him in court.
1-24-18 Classmate expresses guilt over bullying tortured sibling
A former classmate of one of the 13 children held captive in California wrote that the oldest daughter was relentlessly bullied in school. Taha Muntajibuddin described David and Louise Turpin's daughter in a Facebook post as "a frail girl" who wore the same purple outfit every day. The Turpin couple, who face charges of torture and abuse, are due back in court as prosecutors seek to keep them from contacting their children. The couple has pleaded not guilty. Mr Muntajibuddin, who attended kindergarten through third grade with her in Fort Worth, Texas, wrote that he felt "an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame" when learning about the conditions his former classmate lived in. He wrote, "you can't help but feel rotten when the classmate your peers made fun of for 'smelling like poop' quite literally had to sit in her own waste because she was chained to her bed". Mr Muntajibuddin, who realised he went to Meadowcreek Elementary School with the eldest daughter when reading the news of the Turpin case, described her clothes as looking as though they had been dragged through mud. "It is nothing but sobering to know that the person who sat across from you at the lunch table went home to squalor and filth while you went home to a warm meal and a bedtime story," Mr Muntajibuddin wrote. The 13 siblings were allegedly kept in squalid conditions in their home, often chained to beds and unable to use the toilet, until the couple's 17-year-old daughter escaped and alerted the authorities. In addition to charges of abuse and torture father David Turpin, 57, faces one count of "lewd act on a child under 14 years of age"
1-20-18 How can parents torture their children?
David and Louise Turpin stand accused of holding their 13 children in shackles at their California home. The allegations of torture seem impossible to comprehend next to the family photos circulated in the press that show the smiling group on days out at places like Disneyland. We asked experts in child abuse, psychiatry and psychology how parents are able to turn on their offspring.
- How unusual is it to lock up your own children? The Turpins' case is extraordinary for numerous reasons - particularly as the allegations are against two parents who had multiple children together.
- Can parents operate as an abusive team? "When you get two people working together, they support each other and their behaviour becomes normal to them," says Coral Dando, a psychology professor at London's University of Westminster. "They behave in a way they would never behave on their own."
- How can abuse escalate? When announcing the charges against the Turpins, local district attorney Mike Hestrin said the mistreatment appeared to intensify over time. "What started out as neglect became severe, pervasive, prolonged child abuse," he said.
- How can abusive parents reconcile two sides of their lives? Professor Browne says double lives "can be indicative of a personality order, where, say, a family man is sweet-as-can-be at home but a tyrant behind closed doors."
- How can such levels of abuse be unknown? Prof Dando, a former police officer who has also worked on modern slavery cases in her academic life, says that even when the victims have some contact with the outside world, fear can prevent them making a bid for freedom.
(Webmaster's comment: Why is anyone surprised! 70% of the 14.4 million cases of child sex abuse are by male family, male relatives, and their male friends. Most women in the family know about it but just hide in their bedrooms while it is going on and refuse to acknowlege what is happening.)
1-19-18 Larry Nassar case: Olympic champ Jordyn Wieber reveals abuse
A gold-medal winning Olympian has confronted disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar at his sentencing to reveal he abused her, too. Jordyn Wieber is the fourth member of the Fierce Five, the winning 2012 Summer Olympics squad, to accuse him. She joins teammates Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney, who all said Nassar, 54, molested them. More than 100 victims have come forward. Nassar admitted 10 criminal counts and could face life in prison. In emotional testimony, 22-year-old Ms Wieber delivered her statement in court near Lansing, Michigan, on Friday. "I thought that training for the Olympics would be the hardest thing that I would ever have to do," she said. "But, in fact, the hardest thing I ever had to do is process that I am a victim of Larry Nassar." The judge has allowed scores of Nassar's victims to address him in court. For four days this week courtroom number five at Ingham County Court has been the scene of powerful testimony. Young women have taken the stand to do what few survivors of sexual abuse ever get the chance to do - confront their attacker. The public seating area has been packed, as gymnasts and their families support each other. Tissue boxes are scattered across seats - the testimony has been emotional. All the while, Larry Nassar, the doctor they say violated them, has been sitting feet away. At one stage he was told to look up. Survivors here don't just want him sentenced to life, they want him - the man they trusted - to face up to what he did. The impact of this case can't be underestimated. By Friday lunchtime around 80 women had shared testimony. But more than 100 say they plan to, as the hearings extend into next week. Ms Wieber, standing next to her teammate Ms Raisman, told a Michigan court she was first molested by Nasser at age 14. She told the court Nassar had often been one of the only men allowed at training camp in Texas and he would sometimes be in their hotel rooms alone and unsupervised. (Webmaster's comment: And this is just the very tip of the iceberg. Over 1 in every 4 women have been physically sexually abused in their lifetime. That's over 40 million women! Millions of men need to go to jail!)
1-19-18 Pope Francis 'slander' comment angers Chile abuse victims
Pope Francis has triggered anger in Chile after accusing victims of a paedophile priest of slander. Francis said there was "no proof" for their claims that abuse by Father Fernando Karadima had been covered up by another man, Bishop Juan Barros. "There is not one single piece of proof against him (Bishop Barros). It is all slander. Is that clear?" the Pope said. One Karadima victim said the Pope's earlier plea for forgiveness over clerical sex abuse was "empty". The Pope made his comments on Thursday before celebrating Mass outside the city of Iquique in northern Chile. "The day someone brings me proof against Bishop Barros, then I will talk," the Pope told journalists. The Catholic Church suffered a body blow in Chile in 2010 when Father Karadima was publicly accused of molesting several teenaged boys in the capital, Santiago, starting in the 1980s. in 2011 the Vatican found him guilty of abusing teenage boys and sentenced to a lifetime of "penance and prayer". He never faced criminal prosecution in Chile as too much time had passed, but the judge who heard victims' testimony in a year-long investigation described them as "truthful and reliable".
1-19-18 The U.S. lags in child mortality
American children are 70 percent more likely to die young than kids born in other wealthy nations, a new study reveals. Researchers analyzed child mortality rates in the U.S. and 19 other developed countries. They found that rates had declined across the board since 1961, but that the U.S. lags behind every other nation they studied, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and the U.K. Between 2001 and 2010, American infants were 76 percent more likely to die than babies in other wealthy countries, a trend driven by sudden infant death syndrome and premature births. Older American children and teens were 57 percent more likely to die than their peers from other nations, primarily due to car accidents and gun violence. The researchers point out that while the U.S. spends the most on health care per capita, other countries have superior social welfare programs. “This study should alarm everyone,” lead author Ashish Thakrar tells CNN.com. “The U.S. is the most dangerous of wealthy, democratic countries in the world for children.”
1-19-18 House of horrors
Police rescued 13 siblings being held prisoner by their parents in a dank, foul-smelling home in Southern California this week, with some of children discovered shackled to furniture with chains and padlocks. Deputies conducted a welfare check after a 17-year-old girl escaped through a window and called 911. She was so emaciated that deputies initially believed she was only 10 years old. Officers found 12 other siblings, ages 2 through 29, being held in “horrific” conditions, and did not immediately recognize that seven of the 13 young people were adults. Relatives said that the siblings had been homeschooled by their devoutly religious parents, David and Louise Turpin, who have been arrested on nine counts of child endangerment and torture. “You knew something was off,” said neighbor Kimberly Milligan, who said the children were rarely seen outside. “But this is something else entirely.”
1-18-18 Child pregnancies reignite sexual abuse debate in Turkey
News reports of a spate of underage pregnancies in Turkey have sparked anger online. News reports of a spate of underage pregnancies in Turkey have sparked anger online. One hundred and fifteen girls, including 39 from Syria, have been treated at a single hospital in Istanbul in less than five months. News website Hurriyet Daily reported 38 girls became pregnant before the age of 15, and 77 before turning 18. The age of consent is 18 in Turkey and all cases of pregnancy under the age of 15 are classified as child abuse. A hashtag, which translates as 'You can't cover up the abuse of 115 children', has been used more than 47,000 times since Wednesday. Many are sharing a photograph allegedly showing a redacted list detailing the ages of some of those admitted. Most social media users expressed their sadness so many young girls had been the victim of abuse. The story has also reignited wider debates about sexual abuse and women's rights. Referring to previous assertions that women should not laugh in the street and should dress modestly, one user suggested the focus should shift away from women's behaviour and onto their protection. "Instead of meddling in the laughter and the clothes of underage girls, learn to protect them," read the tweet which was shared and liked more than 3,700 times. One twitter user attempted to highlight the wider issues faced by Syrian girls in the country. "Apparently many of the children were Syrians," she wrote. "I know from where I work that even when we inform the police about 15 year old girls who have given birth, all they do is take statements and leave. The law does not apply to them."
1-17-18 Turpin case: Shackled California siblings 'victims of torture'
Police say 13 siblings who were found malnourished, some of them shackled, in a California home were torture victims. Riverside County Sheriff's office said the mother was "perplexed" when officers came to rescue the siblings, who are aged two to 29. Investigators said they had had no previous contacts with the couple, David and Louise Turpin. Their 17-year-old daughter escaped the home in Perris from a window on Sunday and alerted police. "Some of our staff described that there was a very foul smell inside the residence," Capt Fellows said. "It was extremely dirty and as we reported previously many of the children were malnourished." Mr Turpin, 57, and Mrs Turpin, 49, have been held on charges of torture and child endangerment. Bail was set at $9m (£6.5m) each. Asked to say more about the torture allegation, Capt Fellows said: "If you can imagine being 17 years old and appearing to be a 10 year old, being chained to a bed and being malnourished and injuries associated with that I would call that torture." He said investigators have found no evidence of sexual abuse or mental illness at this stage, but added the inquiry was just beginning. "I can't get into the specific details of the conversation, but it seemed that the mother was perplexed as to why we were at that residence," Capt Fellows told reporters.
1-16-18 Larry Nassar case: Victims confront 'repulsive' predator
Dozens are testifying against the ex-Team USA gymnastics doctor accused of molesting about 100 girls. A former babysitter who was abused by ex-Team USA gymnastics sports doctor Larry Nassar has told him in court: "You are a repulsive liar." Kyle Stephens was the first of dozens who will testify against the 54-year-old this week as he is sentenced. People in court wept as she told how Nassar convinced her own parents she was lying about the abuse. Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles on Monday said she was also sexually abused by Nassar. At Tuesday's hearing in Lansing, Michigan, former family friend Ms Stephens told Nassar: "You convinced my parents that I was a liar. "You used my body for six years for your own sexual gratification. That is unforgivable." Ms Stephens told the court: "I felt I was losing my grip on reality, I started to question whether the abuse ever really happened. "For my own sanity I forced myself to walk through the abuse step by step so I didn't forget that I was not a liar." Ms Stephens told how Nassar repeatedly abused her from age six until age 12 during family visits to his home in Holt, near Lansing. She told the court she continued to babysit for the family because she felt protective of the predator's young children and because she needed to pay for her counselling sessions to deal with the abuse. "Complex feelings of shame, disgust and self-hatred brought me bouts of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and other compulsive conditions," Ms Stephens said. "Perhaps you have figured out by now, that little girls don't stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world." Judge Rosemarie Aquilina is expected to hand down a sentence on Friday. Nassar pleaded guilty to molesting females at his home, at a gymnastics club and in his Michigan State University office. He has been accused of molesting about 100 girls while he was a physician for USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Prosecutors are seeking at least 40 years in prison.
1-16-18 Simone Biles: Larry Nassar abused me, says four-time Olympic champion
Four-time Olympic champion Simone Biles says she was sexually abused by former Team USA gymnastics sports doctor Larry Nassar. In an emotional statement, Biles, a star of the Rio Games, said she would not let Nassar "steal my love and joy". Nassar was jailed for 60 years for possessing child sex abuse images and has also admitted assaulting gymnasts. "I know this horrific experience does not define me, I am much more than this," said Biles, 20. Three former US Olympians have accused Nassar of sexual abuse under the guise of medical treatment, including Gabby Douglas, who won gold with Biles in the team event at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Nassar will be sentenced this month over two cases in which he admits assaulting female gymnasts. The 54-year-old was jailed in December for three counts relating to child sex abuse images on his computer. Nassar's lawyers told BBC Sport they would not comment on Biles' statement. USA Gymnastics said in a statement it was "absolutely heartbroken, sorry and angry that Simone Biles or any of our athletes have been harmed by the horrific acts of Larry Nassar".
1-16-18 Turpin: Shackled siblings found in Perris, California home
A California couple have been arrested after police found their 13 children allegedly held captive at home, some "shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks". David Allen Turpin, 57, and Louise Anna Turpin, 49, were held on charges of torture and child endangerment. The couple's children - aged two to 29 - lived in Perris, 59 miles (95km) south-east of Los Angeles. Officers were alerted by one of the victims, a 17-year-old girl. The girl - who appeared to be "only 10 years old and slightly emaciated" - on Sunday managed to escape and call the emergency number using a mobile phone found inside the house, the Riverside Sheriff's Department said in a statement. Police officers later found "several children shackled to their beds with chains and padlocks in dark and foul-smelling surroundings". The officers were "shocked" to discover that seven of them were actually adults aged between 18 and 29. "The victims appeared to be malnourished and very dirty," the police said. They are now being treated in local hospitals. The head of one of the hospitals, Mark Uffer, told Reuters news agency: "It's actually heartbreaking for the staff and it's unbelievable what you see." Mr and Mrs Turpin are now being held in jail with bail set at $9m each. (Webmaster's comment: Abused since birth. Obscene!)
1-16-18 Pope feels 'pain and shame' over Chile sex abuse scandal
Pope Francis has said he feels "pain and shame" over a sex abuse scandal which has rocked the Catholic Church in Chile. The Pope also asked the victims of sexual abuse committed by priests for forgiveness. He made the remarks during his first official address in Chile. The Pope had been criticised in Chile for his decision to ordain a bishop who is accused of covering up sexual abuse committed by a priest. Pope Francis has said in the past that dealing with abuse is vital for the Church's credibility, and that "sanctions" must be imposed against perpetrators. But critics in Chile say he failed to respond to their request to review the appointment of Juan Barros as bishop of Osorno. Parishioners in the southern Chilean city say Bishop Barros used his position in the Catholic Church to try to block an investigation into the actions of his mentor, Catholic priest Fernando Karadima. The case of Fr Karadima, an influential priest who was found guilty by the Vatican of sexually abusing young boys and ordered to do penance, shook the Catholic Church in Chile. Pope Francis said on Tuesday that he was sorry for the "irreparable harm" caused to the victims of sexual abuse by Church ministers. On Monday, activists fighting for the rights of sexual abuse victims gathered in Santiago for a conference. They launched an organisation called Ending Clerical Abuse which "seeks to stop child sexual abuse by the clergy" worldwide.
1-15-18 Malware populates children's apps with porn adverts
Malware that displays explicit pornographic adverts has been found lurking in 60 apps available on Google's Play store. Many of the apps infected with the malware are aimed at children, and some have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. The malware also promotes fake security programs and tries to get people to sign up to expensive services. Google said it had now removed all the compromised apps from the Play store. The "AdultSwine" malware was discovered by researchers from CheckPoint software, which said apps harbouring the code had been downloaded at least three million times. Infected apps include add-ons for the hugely popular pocket edition of Minecraft as well as apps themed around well known Disney characters. The CheckPoint researchers uncovered the infected apps as well as the infrastructure used to pipe offensive adverts and other offers to victims. Reviews of infected apps on Google's store warned about the presence of the pop-up adverts.
1-13-18 Sherin Mathews: Father of adopted girl charged with murder
The US father of an adopted three-year-old girl has been charged with capital murder after an autopsy ruled she died from "homicidal violence". Sherin Mathews was first reported missing from her Texas home in October, triggering a large search operation. Her adoptive father, Wesley Mathews, originally said she disappeared after he put her outside as a punishment. After the girl's body was found two weeks later in a drain entrance, he said she had accidentally choked. Police say his version of events changed repeatedly during the investigation. He was indicted with capital murder on Friday, and could face the death penalty or life imprisonment if he is found guilty. Authorities confirmed the charges were filed after autopsy results, but have not revealed the child's cause of death. (Webmaster's comment: The perfect victim. A child is who totally under your power. What's just a bad as the adoptive father is the adoptive mother who knows the truth yet says nothing and does nothing. She is as guilty as he is.)
1-12-18 Pakistan Zainab murder: Anger in Kasur as other parents speak out
Kasur is an angry city right now. The murder and sexual assault of six-year-old Zainab Ansari, who disappeared on her way to a Koran class on 4 January, has sparked deadly riots. Zainab was last seen alive on CCTV footage walking hand in hand with an unknown man. Her body was found in a rubbish dump a few days later. And according to a police document obtained by the BBC there have been 10 similar cases in the city since January 2017. Investigators have recovered traces of the same DNA on six of the victims, including from Zainab's body. All six were young girls, all went missing extremely close to their homes, and all were left, unburied, in rubbish dumps or abandoned houses nearby. Their families all live within a 3km (two mile) radius. The first in the spate of the girls to be abducted was five-year-old Ayesha Bibi who disappeared from outside her home almost exactly a year before Zainab, on 7 January 2017. It was her father Asif Baba's birthday. He's kept the white teddy bear she gave him as a gift that day, along with her school uniforms and doll collection. "Anger is a very small word to describe how I feel," he told the BBC. "This is not a house - it's a graveyard. Since Zainab died it's like we lost our daughter again. It was the same when I found out about each of the other girls." He says his family and others in the city have been traumatised. "People in the town are scared. The kids are scared to even go to the bathroom - they say to their mothers to wait outside - we won't lock the door." "My other daughter didn't speak for four months. There was a family wedding, she said she's not coming because she might be kidnapped."
1-10-18 Akubra girl Dolly's bullying suicide shocks Australia
A 14-year-old girl who as a child was the face of iconic Australian outback hat firm Akubra has taken her own life over online bullying, say her family. In a Facebook post, the father of Amy "Dolly" Everett called for more awareness of bullying so his daughter's life "will not be wasted". Akubra also expressed its condolences, issuing a call for all to "stand up" against any kind of bullying. One in five children in Australia say they were bullied in the past year. In his emotional Facebook post, written on Sunday, Dolly's father, Tick Everett, gave no details of the bullying, but said she had wanted to "escape the evil in this world". He said he hoped the attention on Dolly's death last week might "help other precious lives from being lost". (Webmaster's comment: Bullies need to be punished severly so they feel the same pain as their victims.)
1-9-18 Apple investors urge action on 'smartphone addiction'
Big investors have called on Apple to develop software that limits how long children can use its smartphones. The call came from two investment groups that hold $2bn (£1.48bn) of Apple stock between them. A letter calling for the digital locks, signed by Jana Partners and a California teachers' pension fund, was sent to the iPhone maker this weekend. The call for better controls was welcomed by academics studying youngsters' use of technology. Jana Partners and the California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS) called on Apple to consider the impact excessive use of smartphones had on the mental health of young people. The two are worried that if Apple does not address growing concerns about smartphone use, its stock market value and general reputation could be damaged. According to a Reuters report, half of US teenagers believe they are addicted to their mobile phones and feel the need to respond immediately to messages. Sonia Livingstone, professor of social psychology at the London School of Economics, said it was good to hear the call from the investors. She added there needed to be one voice between device manufacturers, social media companies and internet service providers (ISPs) on the issue of smartphone use.
1-8-18 We should teach kids how to use social media, not scare them off
A report into the social media habits of under 12s seems worrying, but children are unlikely to switch off, so they should learn how to safely navigate the online world. Is social media broadening children’s horizons and opening up new opportunities? Or is it undermining their confidence, creativity and attention spans? The minimum official age for use of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat is 13, yet three-quarters of 10- to 12-year-olds in the UK are said to have accounts. So what should parents do? The latest round of worry was sparked by a study of the impact of social media use on 8- to 12-year-olds published last week by Anne Longfield, Children’s Commissioner for England. The report looked at the social media use of 32 children, who said they used it to stay connected with friends and family and to have fun, by, for example, watching videos. But they also described pressures to be constantly contactable, online comments that undermine their self-esteem, and the perceived need to shape offline activities to make them more shareable. “On Instagram especially, you see your friends going ice skating, partying or talking about how much revision they have done, and it can make me feel inadequate,” says Bea, a 14-year-old from Bristol who did not take part in the study. “It’s just so constant and hard to get away from.” Children have to take risks on their journeys to adulthood, and desires to fit in and be popular existed before Mark Zuckerberg came along. However, in previous generations these pressures came largely from people they knew, and they mostly stayed outside the home. “Now the pressure could come from any one of the nearly 3 billion people online, and follows them from school to home, and can even continue through the night,” says Beeban Kidron, founder of 5Rights, a campaign group for children’s rights online.
1-4-18 Poland child sex offenders list 'protects children'
The Polish government says a new public online register with data on convicted paedophiles is a "breakthrough tool" to protect children. Deputy Justice Minister Michal Wos said the register would enable parents to check if any paedophiles were living in their area. "The good of the child is the most important thing," he told Polish radio. Personal data on 768 paedophiles, including ID photos, can be viewed on the Polish justice ministry website. Critics say such open disclosure can make it harder for paedophiles to reintegrate into society after serving their sentence. It can also put them at risk of vigilante attacks, some argue. The Polish register gives details of each paedophile's crimes and sentencing, date and place of birth, and home district. Polish public broadcaster TVP says they are mainly paedophiles who have raped children aged under 15, some of whom acted with particular cruelty. (Webmaster's comment: Once you serve your time you should be free to reintegrate into society without fear or prejudice. If the sentences are to short for the crime then lengthen them, but do not extend punishment by exposing ex-criminals to hate, prejudice, and possibly violence.)
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